Reviews by Sasi and Latika
Ali's first day at school
Atawhai, a Young Enterprise company
This book wonderfully portrays a refugee boy’s first day at school in New Zealand.

When I read this book, it takes me back to my childhood days at school, when we moved from Sri Lanka to India, and I went to English school in Year 6. Previously I was learning in my mother tongue Tamil. I didn’t even understand a single sentence in English, which was really difficult. However, my teachers and friends helped me a lot, which allowed me to become class leader in two years.

I think everyone should take responsibility to support newcomers not only in school, but in every setting. Help them to feel welcome so that they love to be part of the place they have started their new life – so that they start to feel they belong.


This book wonderfully portrays a boy’s first day at school in New Zealand. I loved the cultural and environmental differences throughout the book and how Ali overcame these.


Disclaimer: Please note these reviews are not intended as endorsements or recommendations from the Mental Health Foundation. This feature introduces resources that may be useful for individuals with an interest in bullying prevention, mental health and wellbeing topics.

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